Leading yourself – creating a great culture within your eco-system

leadership management team Jan 16, 2023
Leaders must work on themselves first

When we hire people, whether they are contractors or employees, how we show up, communicate and operate is crucial, and what we focus on, needs to change. Remembering that your every word and action is analysed as people look to you for the standard of what good looks like. It is up to you then to role model the behaviours you would like to see in your team.

'The type of person you are, is usually reflected in your business. To improve our business, first improve yourself.' Idowu Koyenikan

Whether you lead 0 people or an organisation of 10,000, your role as the founder / leader of the business determines the culture of the organisation. It is not the number of benefits available, don’t get me wrong, having massages at work and table tennis set up, is great, but that is not what builds a culture. What builds a culture are the micro moments (meetings, conversations, phone calls) that you have in your eco-system, and how these leave the other person feeling. These micro moments are all about your values in action. This is truly not about what you are saying but how you are behaving and the impact on other people.

As a business leader you interact with suppliers, partners, contractors, employees and clients on a daily basis. How you show up, how you behave and the impact you have is what determines the culture you have within your business.

Here are 5 areas of focus for founders / owners and business leaders; the common theme is that it is all about how you lead yourself, and how you decide to ‘show up’ in every interaction, and in every decision. You can’t grow your business and deliver true value without building deep relationships and showing people that you care about them, and what is important to them. Critically, understanding the other persons’ motivations, interests and needs starts to build authentic and trusting business relationships.

Build Trust and Establish Credibility

Treating every project or engagement as your own, will help you to establish trust and credibility. This is down to the language you use, and it is down to being able to introduce clients to another supplier if they are a better fit. The client must feel that they can trust you to do what is best for them. This means putting the client first, even though it might cost you in the short term, in the long run, this will pay dividends.

Make Every Interaction Count

Every interaction is an opportunity to create a fan of your business.  Word of mouth referrals are a powerful source of leads, and if you have a positive impact on every person who interacts with your business, they join your informal marketing team.

Relationship First, Transaction Last

When you have warm leads, approaching each conversation with the consideration of what your business can do to serve this person, how can you help solve a problem builds deeper, more lasting relationships than, ‘what’s in it for me’? This requires you to get to know them, what is important to them, what they do outside of work, what interests they have; and what problems they are grappling with. This takes time to build authentically.

Walk your Talk

Staying true to your values as a business owner (both personal and professional values), means that you need to make the right decisions for the right reasons. This may mean choosing to no longer work with a client if there is a misalignment of values and being willing to hire different people into your business and to farewell people who are not aligned to your business any longer. This can be costly both in terms of money and in terms of time and personal stress. The right decision for the business remains the right decision.

Own your Quirk and Make it Work

People buy from people they like. We are not everyone’s cup of tea, and that is ok. We cannot be who we are not. There is no choice but to show up as the best of who we are. This means owning your quirk and making it work for you. Successful people are often those who embrace that part of themselves that makes them unique; think Jermain Clement, Taika Waititi, Dame Denise L'Estrange-Corbet and Francis Hooper; for example

Having an abundance mindset, where you know that there is enough work for us all, that we will find our tribe and serve the clients we need to serve; will ensure that our approach is built on generosity of spirit and strong partnerships. If you are a real estate agent, promote painters and builders; if you run a wine shop, promote the deli down the road. Find businesses you love, get to know them and figure out how to promote each other’s products or services. This is a win – win and leads to multiple successes.

Lastly, when entering into a conversation with a new connection, find common ground first. Determine which connections, knowledge, or skills will serve the person in-front of you. Approaching these conversations with generosity leaves a lasting impression and says a lot about the culture you have within your business. Then, follow through with your commitments to build trust, which is the foundation for all interaction.